Social Media Marketing

5 Steps for a Most Excellent Google Hangout

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So you want to host a Google hangout? Before you get started researching and reading the countless number of eBooks and blogs that promise to tell you everything you need to know, let me save you a bunch of time. I have read the top posts out there and distilled all of the important stuff down to a simple five step process saving you time and frustration.

Google+ is the sleeping giant of social media networks. It’s now boasting close to 400 million users and its effects on SEO are growing more important every day. Add in the ability to hangout virtually with anyone across the word and broadcast it live, and it’s quickly becoming an essential tool for the modern marketer.

I have hosted many a Google Hangout over the past couple of months and believe me, it’s not the cakewalk that Google makes it out to be by any means. But, it is an amazing platform once you learn how to leverage it correctly. Here is everything you need to know broken down into five simple steps.

1. Set up a Google Event

Sounds simple right? Wrong. The devil is in the details here. When setting up your event make sure you check the “On Air Event” so that you can both stream the live recording and record it to YouTube. Forgetting this one little step can cause complications with your Hangout later on. Add a keyword rich description of your event along with the topic and details around your participants and be sure to tag them as well. Make sure you have a quiet space for each participant and that each one has a pair of headphones. Any outside noise is easily picked up and very distracting to the viewing audience, and headphones are necessary to eliminate any echo from the broadcast.

2. Promote Your Event

Create custom art that can easily be shared across all the major social networks. Also create a Lower Third for each hangout participant. The Lower Third is the custom banner that displays on the bottom of each individual’s webcam that lists their name and affiliate. Each participant will have to upload their Lower Third when they join the Hangout. Send out invites from both your company G+ page and personal G+ page, but don’t stop there. Tweet about it, post it to Facebook, write a blog about it, then put a bit of paid promotion behind each tactic.

3. Day of Hangout

Send a reminder from the event page to all the speaking participants, and invite them a few minutes early to check sound, connections, and camera angels. Using the G+ app selector, add the Toolbox option, and then upload your Lower Third. Note that if you are running a Hangout from your business G+ page, the Toolbox apps do not work. I recommend having a moderator launch the Hangout from the business page, but muting and turning off their screen, and then monitoring chat and questions coming in through the chat functionality within G+. Test the screen sharing options within the Hangout so that you can easily switch back and forth between the camera and screen when necessary.

4. During the Hangout

Remember that this is a hangout, not a webinar. Keep the conversation casual and on point, but let it run on a tangent if one comes up. Have fun with your guests and let your personalities and expertise dictate where the conversation goes.

5. After the Hangout

Download the YouTube recording from your personal account, edit whatever is necessary, then re-upload it to your company’s YouTube account and drop the link back into the Google event. Finally, drop the link to the new recording into your G+ business page and announce the recording for those who may have missed it.

Ready to see a Google Hangout live on-air first hand? Then join us on Wednesday March 20th at 4pm PT for the Marketo Marketing Happy Hour Google Hangout. Our guest will be VP of Marketing at Kinvey and 2012 Content Marketer of the Year, Joe Chernov. RSVP for the Hangout here.

Have you hosted a successful Google Hangout for your business? Have any tips to add? Please join the conversation in the comment section  below.